We are all facing many unknowns these days as we struggle to adjust to changes in work, school, and home schedules as a result of COVID-19. How can we make sure we are caring for our children well through anxiety, stress, and worry? This week, I am sharing six ideas for ways we can focus on being the parents our kids need us to be in the days and weeks that lie ahead.
1) Be careful what you say.
It can be easy to forget when you are stressed, but even very young children are always listening to you and picking up cues on how they should respond to things based on what you do and say. Be careful about how you express worry and anxiety in front of them, or within earshot. But also, especially with older children, invite them to have conversations with you about what is happening. Find out what they are worried about and ask if they have any questions you can answer. Communicating calm and openness is a great gift of peace you can give to your kids right now.
2) Have some structure.
With work and school shifting to home, you might find yourself at home with multiple people adjusting to new routines. A helpful way to smooth the transition is to make sure there is some structure in your days. You don’t have to schedule every minute, but make sure you plan time every day for work, school, going outside, praying, recreation, quiet time, etc. Give your family the gift of a new routine!
3) Learn something together!
You have the gift of time — use it! What is something you have always wanted to learn that you and your family can explore together? YouTube offers free lessons in tech skills, changing a tire, cooking, dance, and pretty much anything you can think of. Also, check out this link for hundreds of Ivy League courses you can take online for free
4) Pray together.
Managing to pray together often is a challenge because of time. Now you have the gift of time together, so make good use of it by making sure you are praying together as a family. You might add to family bedtime prayers or pray in the morning or add the Angelus to your days. Let your kids see you make use of this time to connect with God.
5) Reach out to others.
A great antidote to anxiety is taking action. Thinking about and praying for and doing things for others in your family and community is a great way to help your kids feel empowered in the face of uncertainty. Is there someone you can call and check on, or write a note to let them know you are thinking of them?
6) Take care of your marriage.
Your marriage is the foundation of our family life and the structure that gives your kids security. Especially in times of stress and anxiety, make sure you are taking the time to connect with your husband and care for that foundational relationship.
Know that I am praying for you and your family in the days and weeks that lie ahead!
I have received so much feedback from all of you about my newest book and the first chapter that I shared with you at the end of episode 210. Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood is a book in which I share from my heart about the very real changes, challenges, triumphs, and joys of being a mom in an “emptying nest.” You can read that sample chapter at Ave Maria Press. (Use the coupon code BEAN20 to get 20% off your order!)
Please join me on Thursdays at 1:00 pm ET for a book club based on themes in the book. We are beginning by talking about Chapter 1 this Thursday, March 19 at 1:00 pm ET. See you over at Facebook!
My book, You Are Enough: What Women of the Bible Teach You About Your Mission and Worth, is available for order! Use the code, GIRLFRIENDS to receive ten percent off your order. Don’t miss out on this special available exclusively to listeners of the Girlfriends podcast.
Have feedback or an idea to share? I would love to hear from you!